OPEN Research Support
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Post doc and clinical nurse specialist
Kirsten Specht
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital of Southern Jutland


Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
 
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.05.2020  
Slut 01.05.2021  
 



To be a relative to an older person admitted with COVID-19 infection - a qualitative study

Short summary

The aim of this qualitative study is to1) explore relatives' experiences of the implementation of the restricted visitor rules and how they experience to be a relative to an older person admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 2) identify elements of importance for the involvement of relatives who are not physically present at the hospital. Relatives to older patients admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 will be interviewed.




Rationale

The newly identified COVID-19 virus causes symptoms such as fever, tiredness, fatigue, dry cough, dyspnea, lymphopenia and pneumonia. Currently no effective therapy or vaccination has been developed to treat this new infection. In March 2020, WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic as it caused infections among people in all parts of the world. In the middle of March, the Danish Health Authorities and the Danish government took a series of difficult precautionary measures in the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Denmark was closed down and people were told to stay and work from home wherever possible. In addition, schools, restaurants and shopping centers were closed. Health authorities advised people to wash and disinfect hands frequently, maintain social distance, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and if they had fever, cough or difficulty in breathing, they should seek medical care. Based on experiences from China and Italy, the Danish healthcare system had to prepare for a substantial amount of COVID-19 patients in the need for hospital admission. Consequently, there was a need for fast and comprehensive organizational changes within the health care system in Denmark. 

Some of these changes have serious consequences for relatives to hospitalized patients.

Because of infection control hospitals were barring visitors, which meant that relatives were separated from seriously ill friends and family members and were not allowed to visit them during admission to the hospital. 

Most of the patients admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 are older people. The risk of admission increases because of age.  Among persons older than 70 years with COVID-19, 73 % need admission to a hospital. For persons under 70 years it is only 18 % who need to be admitted .

Findings from qualitative studies, conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, indicate that relatives to older people, who are acutely admitted to the hospital, seem to act as important advocates for older patients during the hospital stay. Furthermore, findings from other qualitative studies show that relatives are often the ones who request information, basic services and provision of care based on the older patient's needs and wishes. In addition, relatives seem to support older people's decision-making and provide health care professionals (HCPs) with information about important issues about the older person, such as medications, health conditions, general living conditions and health status.  

Potentially the Corona pandemic have profound consequences for older people admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 virus, their relatives and the HCPs who must enforce the restricted visitor rules. Explicit knowledge about how relatives to older people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 experience the restricted visitor rules and how they are involved in the patient's care and treatment are absent apart from narratives in the media. Therefore, qualitative studies on relatives' experiences are needed to achieve knowledge about their experiences and possible alternative ways to involve relatives, who are not physically present at the hospital.

The aim of this qualitative study is to1)explore relatives' experiences of the implementation of the restricted visitor rules and how they experience to be a relative to an older person admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 2) identify elements of importance for the involvement of relatives who are not physically present at the hospital. Relatives to older patients admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 will be interviewed.



Description of the cohort

Relatives of older people who are hospitalized because of COVID-19 infection

Both men and women

Adults

Speaks and understand danish



Data and biological material

Telephone interviews


Collaborating researchers and departments

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University Hospital of Southern Denmark, Aabenraa,

Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark

  • Postdoc.Kirsten Specht

Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, University Hospital of Southern Denmark, Aabenraa

Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, University Hospital of Southern Denmark,?

  • Professor, Jette Primdahl